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Extra resources for Chechnya’s Secret Wartime Diplomacy: Aslan Maskhadov and the Quest for a Peaceful Resolution
The demands are big. So here is a purely military situation. I don’t know, all this is on a mass scale, the redeployment of the equipment from Itum-Kale, Shatoy, then Tyovzany from there to Vedeno, then Tsentroy, up to 1,000, up to 2,000 armored units in the mud, generally speaking, the devil knows what the Russians are doing. This show of blockading the woodlands, well, there’s absolutely no damage for us from that, but the Russians suffer. Our small maneuverable groups, even Khattab’s group and others, easily leave for another place, move to another place, get away from fire.
And now he is facing the necessity to stop the war, to withdraw the troops. The only reasonable decision is to get down to negotiations, but it is suicide for him. It was much easier even for Yeltsin to make a decision to stop the war because he came to power on a wave of euphoria. Putin’s poll ratings have dropped a great deal after these submarine and TV towers accidents [two major catastrophes during the early Putin years]. It practically makes him history. And all these tycoons and mass media outlets that he is fighting with will pounce on him.
Most importantly, what do they want from us? If they can take advantage of us for themselves, then they will go for it, but if there is nothing to gain, then they would not care less that there are just Chechens fighting or that the purpose of their struggle security guarantees for their people. The Muslim world, the Middle East, the Russians have worked there very well too. They shoved Kadyrov [Akhmad] in front of them, Wahabbism, fundamentalism: everywhere this is a threat and in these countries with half-European manners, like Turkey and others, they get scared when Wahabbism, fundamentalism are mentioned.